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Gamecocks Back In Action Hosting Florida A&M Saturday 01/01/2021

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COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (1-2) hosts Florida A&M (1-5) on Saturday in the home opener for the Gamecocks at Colonial Life Arena. Tip time is set for 1 p.m. ET and the matchup will be broadcast on the SEC Network with Kevin Fitzgerald (play-by-play) and Dane Bradshaw (analyst) on the call, while Derek Scott (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (analyst) will be over the airwaves on the Gamecock Radio Network.

Arena: Colonial Life Arena (approx. 3,500)
Broadcast: SEC Network
Play-By-Play: Kevin Fitzgerald
Analyst: Dane Bradshaw
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
In Columbia: 107.5 The Game
Play-By-Play: Derek Scott
Analyst: Casey Manning
Sirius: - | XM: 381 | Internet: 971
Watch: WatchESPN/ESPN App
Live StatsGamecocksOnline.com
Florida A&M Series: First meeting
In Columbia: First meeting
Series Trend: First meeting
Last Meeting: First meeting

> South Carolina returns to the court for the first time since Dec. 5 on Saturday when it hosts Florida A&M in the home opener for the Gamecocks at Colonial Life Arena. The meeting, which is the first between the two schools, marks the Gamecocks' first game in 28 days due to a combination of positive COVID-19 tests, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the South Carolina program.
> In it's most recent outing, the Gamecocks held a halftime lead on the road at No. 10 Houston (Dec. 5), however, the Cougars battled back in the second half and closed a 77-67 win. Junior forward Justin Minaya hit all three of his attempts from beyond the arc and led Carolina with 13 points in the loss.
> On Nov. 29, Carolina held Tulsa scoreless for 9+ minutes in the second half and used a 15-0 run to close a 69-58 win over the Golden Hurricane at the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City. The win was Carolina's first on the year, and improved the Gamecocks' record to 1-1 after opening action in Kansas City with a 78-62 loss to Liberty (Nov. 28).
> Junior guard AJ Lawson was named to the Hall of Fame Classic All-Tournament Team after a pair of double-figure scoring outings at the event. Lawson led the Gamecocks with 12 vs. Liberty, before a 17-point outing behind four 3s in the win over Tulsa. On the weekend, Lawson was 6-of-13 (46.2%) from range, while also dishing out three assists and collecting three steals.
> R-sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard led Carolina with 20 points in the win vs. Tulsa. It marked the third 20-point outing of his career. Dating back to the start of SEC play last season, he has now hit double-figures in 17 of his last 20 games.
> Martin is 33-46 (.417) against ranked opponents as a head coach. His teams have four wins over opponents ranked in the top five, and two wins over opponents who are ranked No. 1.
> A pair of Gamecocks collected preseason honors from both the media and SEC coaches during the preseason. Junior guard AJ Lawson earned preseason All-SEC Second-Team accolades from the media, while Lawson (First Team) and Couisnard (Second Team) were honored by the SEC coaches on the preseason teams.

> Florida A&M is 1-5 on the season entering Saturday's matchup vs. the Gamecocks.
> The Rattlers are led by head coach Robert McCullum in his fourth season. McCullum has faced the Gamecocks once during his career, when he was the head coach at South Florida, the team's met in non-conference action with Carolina posting a 72-70 win over USF on Dec. 14, 2004. Gamecock standout Renaldo Balkman hit 7-of-11 from the field and led Carolina with 17 points in that win.
> Florida A&M last played on Dec. 18, suffering a 74-64 road loss at Georgia Tech.
> The Rattlers lone win on the year came in a 76-70 road victory at Austin Peay on Dec. 15.
> A&M has played all six of its games on the road this season.
> Junior guard MJ Randolph paces the Rattlers with 16.2 points per game this season, while also leading the team in assists (4.0) and steals (2.0) per game.
> Randolph scored a career high 27 points, hitting 11-of-15 attempts from the floor, in the win at Austin Peay.

10+ - Leading scorer Jermaine Couisnard has hit double figures in all three games this season. He had 10 vs. both Liberty and at No. 10 Houston, and led the Gamecocks with 20 in the Nov. 29 win vs. Tulsa. He paces the team at 13.3 points per game entering the Florida A&M matchup.
6.3 - R-sophomore guard TJ Moss has been strong on the offensive end to begin the season. He's hit 6-of-10 attempts from the floor, 3-of-4 from 3-point range and he has dished out a total of five assists.
22.0 - Through the first three games, the Carolina bench is averaging 22.0 points per game, led by Moss' 6.3 points per outing.
73.4% - South Carolina returns 73.4 percent of its scoring from last season, including leading scorer, junior guard AJ Lawson who averaged 13.4 points per game.

> South Carolina opens SEC action when it hosts Texas A&M on Wednesday night at Colonial Life Arena. Tip time versus the Aggies is set for 9 p.m. ET, with the matchup set for broadcast on ESPNU.

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